8 Weird Plastic Surgery Procedures You Didn’t Know Existed
You likely know about Botox, boob jobs, and liposuction. But have you ever heard of dimpleplasty? Maybe not. These are the unusual procedures plastic surgeons are performing out of the spotlight and under the radar.
Buccal fat removalVoyagerix/Shutterstock
Cheekbones are all the rage these days, and you may already know that doctors are using dermal filler to add definition to the bone. But in addition to putting stuff into cheekbones to sculpt them, doctors are also taking stuff out. Buccal fat removal (aka cheek reduction) is a procedure that slims the fat pads in the cheeks to reveal more defined cheekbones. “Buccal fat removal is a little-known procedure,” says Dr. Brent Moelleken, board-certified plastic surgeon who performs the surgery about three times a month. “When people hear they don’t have to live with the chipmunk cheeks that make them look like their older family members, they are excited and get the word out.” If you’re interested in buccal fat removal, just be sure you’re 100 percent committed to this procedure, as very few doctors know how to reverse the effects, so it is generally considered permanent, explains Dr. Moelleken. On RealSelf, interest is up 44 percent year over year with above-average traffic from 18 to 35 year olds. The average price for the cheek-slimming procedure is $3,275. (You can also try these face-slimming makeup tricks.)
Anyone who has ever over-tweezed their brows knows the hair likely isn’t coming back, and they’re probably wasting precious morning routine-time filling them in daily with pencil or powder. A more permanent solution is the eyebrow transplant, which takes hair from the “donor site” (like the back of the head) and transplants it to the brow area. Once the desired brow shape has been created, hair will begin to grow like it did in its original location, so regular trimming will be needed. “Over-plucking of the eyebrows is the most common reason people are looking to restore them,” explains Miami facial plastic surgeon, Jeffrey Epstein, MD. He performs three to four transplants a week, with 70 percent of his clients being women aged 35 to 45. Dr. Epstein cites aging as another factor that leads to thinning hair, so it’s not uncommon to see men and women over 50 also seeking out the treatment. These tips for the perfect brows can transform your appearance.
Next up on the facial contouring trend train is dimpleplasty, a minimally invasive procedure that provides permanent dimples on the cheek or chin. This 30-minute surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia. A surgeon passes a suture through the inside of the cheek or through inside the bottom lip, where it’s tied off, creating a natural-looking dimple. “The decision to perform dimpleplasty requires a detailed discussion with the patient to understand their wishes and make sure they understand the risks and benefits,” says David Shafer, MD, New York City plastic surgeon. “Unlike fillers that can be dissolved or Botox, which always metabolizes away in three to five months, surgical procedures give permanent results.” One thing to remember, warns Dr. Shafer, is that while natural dimples usually occur when someone smiles, “dimples created by dimpleplasty can sometime occur even at rest, especially during the first few weeks to months after surgery.”
This procedure does involve blood but thankfully has nothing to do with Dracula. The Vampire Facelift is a cosmetic procedure that involves drawing your blood, processing it to isolate the platelet-rich plasma (PRP), and then re-injecting it to erase wrinkles and create a more youthful look. Platelets are your blood’s way of calling 911, says Kevin Sadati, MD, an Orange County facial plastic surgeon. “They contain growth factors and healing properties that boost the immune system,” he explains. Over time, you can see around 10 to 15 percent more volume in your face, which can last a few years. It may sound bizarre but the treatment actually works—it has an 84 percent ‘Worth It’ rating on RealSelf.
Listen up! Some people are unhappy with the ears they were born with and that grief lasts longer than necessary for most. Ear surgery, or otoplasty, surgically moves the ears closer to the head and permanently corrects protruding ears, bringing them into better proportion with the face. This 45-minute-per-side procedure can be done in the office under local anesthesia in adults and in the operating room under sedation for children. “The results are quite life-changing for most patients,” says Michelle R. Yagoda, MD, board-certified New York facial plastic surgeon.
If you’ve wished for permanently full lips or you’re tired of seeing the effects of aging around the mouth, the lip lift might be an option you haven’t heard of. The procedure increases the pink portion of the upper or lower lip or reduces the distance between your lips and your nose—the lip-to-nose ratio. “The main problem is that the elongated space makes the top lip sag and look thinner and once the length of the space is shortened a tiny bit, it gives the entire face a more youthful appearance,” says Ricardo L. Rodriguez, MD, a Baltimore-based plastic surgeon. Unlike temporary lip fillers, a lip lift procedure involves taking a strip of skin from the part of the lip right under your nose and the incision area takes 7 to 10 days to heal. “I love doing this procedure because it makes such a big difference,” says Dr. Rodriguez. (Here are 8 things you should know before getting breast reduction surgery.)
Sometimes no amount of diet or exercise will help those stubborn spots like double chins. The CoolMini, CoolSculpting’s younger sibling, is a unique, smaller sized applicator that recently received FDA clearance to target smaller pockets of fat. Think of it as a non-surgical alternative to liposuction for the right person. Sheila Nazarian, MD, board-certified plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, explains that results are seen at 2 months, and typically 1 to 3 treatments will be necessary on each area to achieve ideal results. “The best candidates are those who are in pretty good shape with areas of stubborn fat that won’t go away no matter what.”
While most natural belly buttons are not perfectly round, a lot of people desire a close to perfect innie. Loose skin, hernias, or a post-pregnancy outie may be a few of the biggest reasons for those seeking belly button surgery, or umbilicoplasty, which surgically changes the shape of the belly button or requires the creation of a new belly button. The procedure can be performed alone or as part of another surgery such as a tummy tuck, and should be scheduled with a board-certified plastic surgeon with a great level of detail and finesse. “Not all patients have the goal of wearing a two-piece swimsuit, but many do, and I want these patients to be able to do so without feeling self-conscious about the appearance of their new belly button,” says Michael Law, MD, a plastic surgeon in Raleigh-Durham.